Residences and Food: Recovering the senses of the elderly through food

As people’s quality of life improves, our life expectancy increases. We are living longer and we want to enjoy it in the best possible way. The UN estimates that the world elderly population will reach the 1.4 billion by 2030.

With this growing population, the number of people affected by age-related diseases will also skyrocket, despite the improvement in general health. In reality, more than 90% of adults will lose sensitivity in at least one of their five sensesaccording to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

“Over 90% of adults will lose sensitivity in at least one of their five senses”

This sensory loss is directly related to the well-being of the elderly. Seeing less, hearing less well or not appreciating the taste of food can affect their self-esteem, cause them to isolate themselves and even stop eating properly because they have difficulty going about their most daily activities.

Is it possible to reverse this sensory loss? According to research on aging and the senses, the answer is yes. With the right strategies and having food as the main objective, we can awaken the senses. Precisely, the study, carried out between the University of Ottawa and Sodexois titled ‘The awakening of the senses‘.

How does aging affect the five senses?

Through the senses we receive information from the environment in the form of sound, light, smells, tastes and touch. With age we need more stimuli be aware of these feelings.

Ear: 80% of people over 85 will experience significant hearing loss.

Seen: As people age, the eye muscles weaken and limit eye rotation, reducing the field of vision. However, 80% of visual impairments can be prevented or cured.

Enthusiasm: We have about 9,000 taste buds that detect different flavors. However, these decrease significantly between 40-50 years in the case of women and between 50-60 years in the case of men.

Feel: It can be influenced by chronic health conditions, such as diabetes. Some medications can affect the sense of smell in older people.

To touch: Tactile sensation deteriorates from the age of 18, with men losing approximately 1% of tactile sensation each year. Having fewer active receptors in the skin leads to a slower reaction time to pain, which increases the risk of burns.

Awaken the 5 senses through food

Research from the University of Ottawa and Sodexo has revealed that it is possible counteract sensory deficiencies act on each of the five senses through food. “The awakening of the sensesit’s a new catering concept for nursing homes and day centers, which base their success on stimulating the senses through satisfying food experiences.

During the study, it was discovered that working on the 5 senses of residents through different smells, music, color combinations, textures… Mealtime becomes a stimulating and satisfying experience. Residents appreciate the food, the tasty and nutritious menus, as well as sharing a moment of well-being with their colleagues. As a result, they are happier and the perception towards the residence improves considerably.

In addition, medical stocks are also performing better. Through improved dining experience, malnutrition levels are reduced and biochemical values ​​such as blood pressure, blood sugar, protein, etc. are improved.

With the help of innovative technologies, best practices and an expert culinary team, residents can continue to use their senses to stay safe, participate in meaningful activities and live their lives to the fullest.

Would you like to know more about Sodexo’s awakening of the senses? Request more information and request a free initial consultation with a specialist.

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